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2011 Chronology of Aviation History
Major Aviation Events


January 2011


  • 1 January — Kolavia Flight 348, operated by Tupolev Tu-154B-2 “Careless” (RA-85588) of Kogalymavia catches fire while taxying for take-off at Surgut International Airport, Russia, killing three people, and injuring 43. The aircraft is destroyed by the fire. [1]

  • 5 January — An attempt is made to hijack Turkish Airlines Flight 1754 from Gardermoen Airport, Oslo to Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul. The hijacker was overpowered by other passengers on the flight and was arrested when the aircraft landed. The flight was being operated by Boeing 737-800 (TC-JGZ). [1]

  • 9 January — Iran Air Flight 277, crashes while performing a go-around at Urmia Airport killing 77 of the 106 people aboard, and injuring 26 people. A total of 28 people survived. The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 727-286Adv. [1]

  • 10 January — AirAsia Flight 5218, operated by Airbus A320-216 (9M-AHH), sustained substantial damage in a runway excursion accident at Kuching Airport, Malaysia. All 123 passengers and six crew members survived. The Flight from Kuala Lumpur Subang International Airport to Kuching Airport. The flight landed on Kuching's runway 25 in heavy rain around but skidded to the right and went off the side of the runway. It came to rest in the grass with the nose gear dug in or collapsed. [1]

  • 14 January — A USAF General Atomics MQ-1 “Predator” unmanned aerial vehicle crashes in the sea off the Horn of Africa while trying to return to Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti. It is the first known accident involving either a General Atomics MQ-1 “Predator” or an General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicle near a civilian airport. [1]

  • 24 January — Etihad Airways Flight 19, operated by Airbus A340-600 (A6-EHH) was escorted into Stanstead Airport, United Kingdom by two RAF Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby. The flight originated at Abu Dhabi International Airport and was bound for London Heathrow Airport when it was diverted due to an unruly passenger. The passenger was arrested after the aircraft had landed. [1]

February 2011


  • 10 February — Manx2 Flight 7100 from Belfast, operated by Fairchild Swearingen “Metroliner” (EC-ITP )leased from Flightline BCN of Barcelona, overturns on its third attempt to land at Cork, Republic of Ireland in fog, killing six and injuring six. [1]

  • 21 February — As violence in the Libyan civil war grows, Libyan Air Force warplanes and attack helicopters launch airstrikes on protesters, reportedly targeting a funeral procession and a group of protesters trying to reach a military base. [1]

  • 21 February — Two senior Libyan Air Force pilots fly their Dassault “Mirage F.1” fighters to Malta and request political asylum after defying orders to bomb protesters. Two civilian helicopters also land in Malta after a flight from Libya, carrying seven passengers who claim to be French oil workers. [1]

  • 22 February — Former Libyan Ambassador to India Ali Abd-al-Aziz al-Isawi confirms that Libyan Air Force jets have bombed civilians. [1]

  • 28 February — Libyan rebels reportedly shoot down a Libyan Air Force warplane during the “Battle of Misrata”. [1]

March 2011


  • 1 March — Australian Minister for Defence Stephen Smith says that international intervention in the Libyan civil war to enforce a no-fly zone is probable, and British Foreign Secretary William Hague says that a no-fly zone could be imposed even without a United Nations Security Council resolution. Libyan rebel leaders debate whether to ask for Western airstrikes, and Abdul Fatah Younis, Libya's former minister of the interior who has defected to the rebels, says he would welcome targeted foreign airstrikes, though he offers the use of Libyan military airbases to foreign aircraft only in case of emergency. [1]

  • 2 March — Two Libyan Air Force jets bomb Ajdabiya in an attempt to destroy a weapons depot. Anti-aircraft artillery shoots one of them down. [1]

  • 2 March — The Libyan opposition's interim-government council formally requests that the United Nations impose a no-fly zone over Libya and conduct precision air strikes against Libyan government forces, and the Arab League states that a no-fly zone is necessary and adds that in cooperation with the African Union, it could impose a militarily-enforced no-fly zone without the United Nation's Backing. [1]

  • 4 March — The Libyan Air Force conducts occasional air strikes on Ajdabiya's weapon-storage area, with no reported casualties. [1]

  • 4 March — Libyan opposition forces capture the Libyan airbase at Ra's Lanuf. [1]

  • 5 March — An Antonov An-148 crashes at Garbuzovo, Alxeevsky Region, Belgorod Oblast, Russia following an in-flight break-up. All six people on board are killed. [1]

  • 5 March — Opposition forces shoot down a Libyan Air Force jet fighter over Ra's Lanuf after it attempts to bomb the town, killing its two pilots. [1]

  • 9 March — The Space Shuttle “Discovery”, first of the space shuttles to be retired, glides to a landing to end its 39th and final mission - the most by any space shuttle. [1]

  • 11 March — Following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off the coast of Japan, Sendai Airport in Natori, Japan, is engulfed by a tsunami and put out of action. Flights are suspended from a number of airports in Japan, including Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport, Tokyo. In Hawaii, Hilo International, Honolulu International, Kahului and Lihue airports are all temporarily closed. [1]

  • 15 March — A USAF General Atomics MQ-1 “Predator” unmanned aerial vehicle overshoots the runway at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti, and crashes into a fence. No one is injured. Investigators blame the accident on a melted throttle part and pilot confusion and inattention, as well as the inability of any remote pilot to react to cues such as wind rush or high engine pitch that would suggest to the pilot of a manned aircraft that the aircraft was approaching the runway too steeply and at too high a speed. [1]

  • 17 March — United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 approves a no-fly zone over Libya, authorizing military intervention in the Libyan civil war. [1]

  • 19 March — Libyan rebel ground fire mistakenly shoots down a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23BN “Flogger” of the rebel Free Libyan Air Force over Benghazi. [1]

  • 19 March — French Air Force aircraft make the first attacks of the military intervention in Libya, striking Libyan government armored vehicles south of Benghazi during the Second Battle of Benghazi. USAF Northrop-Grumman B-2A “Spirit” stealth bombers, American fighters, and RAF aircraft go into action later in the day, striking Libyan government ground forces and air defense sites. [1]

  • 20 March — An airstrike by the international coalition against a Libyan government military ground convoy approaching Misrata destroys 14 tanks, 20 armored personnel carriers, and several trucks filled with ammunition, killing at least 14 Libyan government soldiers. [1]

  • 22 March — A USAF Boeing F-15E “Strike Eagle” crashes in Libya due to a mechanical failure; its two-man crew survives with minor injuries. Libyan rebel forces rescue one of them; the other is picked up by a United States Marine Corps MV-22 “Osprey” from the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), the first time an “Osprey” has been used to rescue a downed aviator. [1]

  • 23 March — Coalition air strikes target Libyan government military forces in Misrata, at Ajdabiya's eastern gate, in eastern Tripoli, and at Tajura. They also hit Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's compound at Bab al-Aziziya. RAF Air Vice Marshal Greg Bagwell states that the Libyan Air Force “no longer exists as a fighting force” and that coalition aircraft are “operating with impunity” over Libya. [1]

  • 24 March — A French fighter aircraft destroys a Libyan government Soko G-2 “Galeb” military trainer aircraft on the ground just after it had landed at a Libyan base following a flight in which it violated the no-fly zone over Libya. French aircraft also bomb the Al Jufra Air Base. [1]

  • 25 March — French and British jets strike Libyan government tanks and artillery in eastern Libya to help rebel forces to take Ajdabiya. [1]

  • 25 March — The United Arab Emirates commits six Lockheed Martin F-16 “Fighting Falcon” and six Dassault “Mirage” fighters to help enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. [1]

  • 26 March — Coalition aircraft attack targets on the outskirts of Misrata, Libya. [1]

  • 26 March — France reports that at least five Libyan government Soko G-2 “Galeb” fighter planes and two Libyan government Mil Mi-24 “Hind” attack helicopters preparing to attack rebel forces in the Az Zintan and Misrata regions have been shot down in the last 24 hours. [1]

  • 28 March — British jets bomb ammunition bunkers in southern Libya and destroy 22 tanks, other armored vehicles, and artillery pieces in the vicinity of Ajdabiya and Misrata. [1]

  • 28-29 March — Overnight, Coalition aircraft fly 115 strike sorties against targets in Libya. [1]

  • 29 March — A USN Lockheed P-3 “Orion” fires at a Libyan Navy patrol vessel that has launched missiles at merchant ships in the port of Misrata. A USAF Fairchild Republic A-10 “Thunderbolt II” attacks two smaller Libyan vessels accompanying the patrol vessel, sinking one and forcing the other to be abandoned. [1]

  • 30 March — After a sandstorm prevents strikes the previous day, coalition aircraft begin attacks against Libyan government forces around Ra's Lanuf and on the road to Uqayla. [1]

  • 31 March — The United States turns over command of coalition operations in Libya to the NATO and greatly reduces its participation in airstrikes there. [1]

  • 31 March — Coalition aircraft strike an eastern suburb of Tripoli, Libya, and attack Libyan government forces in Brega during the Third Battle of Brega. [1]

April 2011


  • 1 April — In the Libyan civil war, a coalition airstrike attacking a Libyan government ground convoy in eastern Libya causes a truck carrying ammunition to explode, destroying two nearby houses. Seven civilians die and 25 are wounded. [1]

  • 1 April — A Libyan rebel convoy near Brega fires into the air with an anti-aircraft gun, perhaps in celebration. A USAF Fairchild Republic A-10 “Thunderbolt II” aircraft believing it was under attack by Libyan government forces then returns fire, killing at least 13 people. [1]

  • 1 April — Southwest Airlines Flight 812, the Boeing 737-3HR (N632SW) with 123 people on board, suffers an in-flight structural failure which opens a six-foot (1.8-meter)-long hole in its fuselage and triggers an explosive decompression and the deployment of oxygen masks. Only two people suffer minor injuries, and the airliner makes a successful emergency descent and landing at Yuma International Airport in Yuma, Arizona. Southwest Airlines grounds all 80 of its 737-300s for inspection. [1]

  • 5 April — Coalition airstrikes against an eight-vehicle Libyan government military convoy approaching rebel positions 30 km (18.6 miles) east of Brega destroy two vehicles. The rest turn Back. [1]

  • 7 April — Unaware that Libyan rebels had taken possession of any tanks, NATO aircraft mistakenly strike a Libyan rebel tank convoy near Ajdabiya, killing thirteen and wounding many, Other NATO airstrikes mistakenly kill two rebels and wound 10 in Brega. [1]

  • 10 April — NATO announces that its airstrikes in Libya under “Operation Unified Protector” have destroyed 11 Libyan government tanks near Ajdabiya and 14 near Misrata during the day. Libyan rebels announce that NATO airstrikes have helped them hold Ajdabiya and drive Gaddafi's forces out during the weekend's attack. [1]

  • 11 April — NATO announces that its “Operation Unified Protector” airstrikes have destroyed 49 Libyan government tanks since 9 April, including 13 on 9 April, 25 on 10 April, and 11 on 11 April. [1]

  • 12 April — The Air France Airbus A380 (F-HPJD) collides on the ground with the Comair Bombardier CRJ-700 (N641CA) at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, spinning the CRJ-700 through 90°. The Airbus sustains slight damage, but the CRJ-700 is substantially damaged. [1]

  • 14 April — Coalition jets strike Tripoli, Libya, targeting a military base and damaging parts of a university complex. Libyan government antiaircraft artillery in central Tripoli fires at them. [1]

  • 21 April — The Sukhoi “Superjet 100”, the first airliner developed from start to finish in post-Soviet Russia, makes its first commercial passenger flight, flying for the Armenian airline Armavia from Yerevan, Armenia, to Moscow, Russia. [1]

  • 24 April — Libyan rebels claim that coalition airstrikes on Libyan government forces on the Al Zaitoniya-Al Soihat road near Ajdabiya hit 21 military vehicles but NATO does not confirm their claim. [1]

  • 25 April — Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi approves the use of Italian aircraft in ground-attack missions in Libya as part of NATO's Operation Unified Protector. [1]

  • 27 April — NATO airstrikes mistakenly kill 11 Libyan rebels and wound two in Misrata. [1]

  • 30 April — The Syrian government deploys helicopters to Daraa in response to antiregime protests there as violence increases in the Syrian Civil War. [1]

  • 30 April — A NATO airstrike in Tripoli kills Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Arab Gaddafi. The Libyan government claims that three of Said al-Arab Gaddafi's children also die in the attack. [1]

May 2011


  • 1-2 May — Overnight, in “Operation Neptune Spear”, two modified United States Army UH-60 “Blackhawk” helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) carry USN SEALs of the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to Abbottabad, Pakistan, where they attack the compound of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and kill him and four others in the compound. One “Blackhawk” crashes during the assault, but there are no serious injuries to any Americans, and the remaining “Blackhawk” and a Boeing Vertol CH-47 “Chinook” helicopter fly the SEALs and bin Laden's body Back to Afghanistan. [1]

  • 7 May — A USAF General Atomics MQ-1 “Predator” unmanned aerial vehicle suffers an electrical failure and crashes in the Gulf of Aden one mile (1.6 km) off Djibouti, Djibouti. [1]

  • 11 May — Libyan rebel forces capture Misrata Airport, which also serves as a Libyan Air Force base. [1]

  • 1 May — Judy Weller becomes the first woman to pilot a human-powered helicopter, remaining airborne for 4 seconds ans achieving an altitude of a few inches in the University of Maryland's “Gamer I”. [1]

  • 13 May — A NATO airstrike targeting a Libyan government command and control bunker in Brega hits a building, killing 11 civilians and wounding 45. [1]

  • 13 May — The first “Solar Impulse” (HB-SIA) aircraft, the first solar-powered aircraft capable of both day and night flight thanks to its batteries charged by solar power, makes its first international flight, flying 630 km (391 miles) from Payerne Airport outside Payerne, Switzerland, to Brussels Airport in Belgium, in 12 hours 59 minutes at an average speed of 50 km/hr (31 mph). [1]

  • 17 May — A USAF General Atomics MQ-1 “Predator” unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a live Lockheed Martin AGM-114 “Hellfire” air-to-surface missile misses the runway at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport in Djibouti, Djibouti, by three miles (4.8 km) and crashes near a residential area. Its missile does not explode, and no one is injured. [1]

  • 19-20 May — Overnight, NATO aircraft raid Libyan Navy bases at Tripoli, Khoms, and Sirte in the largest attack against Libyan government naval forces thus far in the Libyan civil war. During the Khoms raids, British aircraft hit two corvettes at Khoms with laser-guided bombs and damage an inflatable-boat manufacturing facility, and NATO aircraft set a warship at Tripoli afire. NATO aircraft also hit a police academy in Tripoli's Tajoura neighborhood. [1]

  • 21 May — NATO conducts 147 air sorties over Libya, targeting two command-and-control facilities in and near Tripoli, an ammunition storage facility near Tripoli, a naval asset near Sirte, two air defense radars near Al Khums, and a tank and a military truck near Zintan. Since NATO took command of air strikes in Libya on 31 March 31, its aircraft have conducted 2,975 strike and 4.757 other sorties. [1]

  • 23 May — France and the United Kingdom announce that they will begin to use attack helicopters in Libya to increase the accuracy of NATO airstrikes and allow more precise strikes against urban targets. [1]

  • 24 May — NATO stages the largest air attacks against Tripoli since the beginning of the international intervention in the Libyan civil war, with ore than 20 airstrikes hitting Tripoli near Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's compound. The Libyan government reports at least three people killed and dozens wounded. [1]

  • 26 May — The United Kingdom announced plans to send four “Apache” helicopters to aid in the conflict. [1]

  • 27 May — NATO aircraft conduct 151 sorties over Libya, striking a command and control facility in Tripoli, ammunition storage facilities near Sirte, Mizda, and Hun, a rocket launcher and two truck-mounted guns near Misrata, and four surface-to-air missile launchers near Zintan. NATO jets also destroy the guard towers surrounding Gaddafi's Bab al-Azizia compound in Tripoli. NATO aircraft have flown 8,585 sorties over Libya since NATO took command of the operations there on 31 March. [1]

  • 27 May — As of 27 May, a total of twenty NATO ships were actively patrolling the Central Mediterranean. [1]

  • 31 May — The Libyan government claims that NATO air raids have killed 718 civilians and injured more than 4,000 since the international bombing campaign to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya began. [1]

June 2011


  • 2 June — NATO air attacks in Libya destroy ammunition and vehicle depots, a surface-to-air missile launcher, and a radar installation in Tripoli. [1]

  • 3 June — An American unmanned aerial vehicle strike in South Waziristan, Pakistan, kills Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior al-Qaeda member and leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami. [1]

  • 3 June — NATO attack helicopters go into combat in Libya for the first time, when two British Army Air Corps Agusta Westland “Apaches” operating from the Royal Navy amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean attack a radar site and an armed checkpoint near Brega and French Aérospatiale Gazelles simultaneously attack other Libyan government targets. [1]

  • 4 June — British Army Air Corps “Apache” attack helicopters from HMS Ocean destroy several Libyan government targets near the Brega-Ajdabiya front line, including ammunition bunkers and radar installations. French Gazelles hit numerous targets around Brega in preparation for an expected rebel ground offensive. [1]

  • 5 June — NATO airstrikes level the offices of Libya's state television service, Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation, and the Libyan government military intelligence offices in Tripoli. [1]

  • 10 June — Syrian government attack helicopters go into action during Syrian Army military operations against the rebel stronghold of Jisr ash-Shugur. The operations will conclude successfully on 12 June. [1]

  • 10 June — The Government of Norway announces that it will begin a gradual withdrawal of the six Royal Norwegian Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16 “Fighting Falcons” it has committed to “Operation Unified Protector”, the NATO intervention in the Libyan civil war. [1]

  • 14 June — NATO aircraft strike Waddan, Libya. [1]

  • 14 June — In response to Libya firing rockets into its territory, Tunisia flies a helicopter and a Tunisian Air Force Northrop F-5 “Freedom Fighter” along its border with Libya. [1]

  • 14-15 June — Overnight, NATO jets resume airstrikes on Tripoli after a lull in such raids, bombarding mainly its eastern neighborhoods. [1]

  • 15 June — A NATO commander confirms that NATO warplanes have bombed an ammunition store at Waddan, Libya. [1]

  • 16 June — The Russian Federation's flag carrier Aeroflot puts its first Sukhoi “Superjet 100” into service. [1]

  • 19 June — A NATO airstrike accidentally hits a civilian neighborhood in Tripoli, Libya. The Libyan government claims that at least five people died in the attack. [1]

  • 20 June — On final approach to Petrozavodsk Airport near Petrozavodsk, Russia, after a flight from Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, RusAir Flight 243, the Tupolev Tu-134A-3 “Crusty ” (RA-65691), lands short of the runway due to poor visibility and weather, killing 47 passengers and crew members and leaving all five survivors injured. The aircraft is written off. [1]

  • 21 June — Libyan government antiaircraft fire shoots down an unmanned NATO Northrop Grumman MQ-8 Fire “Scout” helicopter drone on a reconnaissance flight near Zliten, Libya. [1]

  • 29 June — KLM becomes the first airline in the world to provide flights using biofuel. [1]

  • 29 June — The French military confirms that it had air-dropped weapons in early June to Libyan rebels fighting in the highlands south of Tripoli, which Russia and the African Union in particular argue was in violation of the arms embargo against Libya under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. [1]

July 2011


  • 2 July — NATO confirms that in recent days it has increased its airstrikes against military targets in western Libya, bombing Tripoli and Gharyan and armored vehicles in Bir al-Ghanam. [1]

  • 10 July — Egypt ends its unrestricted immigration policy for Libyan nationals arriving in Egypt by air. [1]

  • 12 July — An airstrip laid out along a stretch of highway near Rhebat in the Nafusa Mountains was opened by a senior NTC minister, allowing an air connection via a small private company, Air Libya, between Benghazi and the Amazigh rebels. [1]

  • 17 July — About 100 Syrian Air Force intelligence personnel defect to the rebel side in Abu Kamal, Syria. [1]

  • 22 July — The Space Shuttle “Atlantis” returns to Earth at the end of STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle Program. [1]

  • 23 July — NATO aircraft strike a Libyan government military storage facility, a multiple rocket launcher, and a command-and-control node in the Brega area. [1]

  • 25 July — NATO aircraft strike various targets in Ziltan, Libya. The Libyan government claims that they struck a health clinic, a food-storage complex, and a military base and killed at least 11 civilians. NATO later rejects the claims, saying its planes hit a command-and-control node and a vehicle storage facility. [1]

  • 30 July — NATO aircraft bomb three satellite dishes in Tripoli in an attempt to put Libyan state television - the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation - off the air, but the channel continues to broadcast. [1]

  • 30 July — The International Organization for Migration concludes an operation that it claims airlifted 1,398 stranded migrants, mostly Chadians, out of Libya. [1]

August 2011


  • 1 August — The Government of Norway announces that it has completed the withdrawal of its six Lockheed Martin F-16 “Fighting Falcons” from “Operation Unified Protector”, the NATO intervention in the Libyan civil war. The six Royal Norwegian Air Force fighters had flown 583 of the 6,493 sorties flown by NATO aircraft since NATO took command of the Libyan air campaign on 31 March and dropped 569 bombs. [1]

  • 3 August — The International Federation of Journalists condemns the 30 July NATO bombing of the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation in an attempt to knock Libyan state television off the air, allegedly killing three journalists and wounding another 15. [1]

  • 5 August — The International News Safety Institute asks Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to investigate whether the 30 July NATO airstrike against the Libyan Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation violated a United Nations Security Council Resolution that prohibits attacks on journalists. [1]

  • 9 August — The Government of the United Arab Emirates turns a Libyan Air Force Ilyushin Il-76TD “Candid” it had seized at Dubai over to the Libyan provisional National Transitional Council at Benghazi, Libya. It becomes the Free Libyan Air Force's first military transport aircraft. [1]

  • 12 August — A NATO airstrike against Libyan government positions in Brega destroys two armored vehicles and kills six Libyan Army soldiers. [1]

  • 12 August — The French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle returns to Toulon, France, after more than four months of continuous operations off the coast of Libya. [1]

  • 16 August — The Government of Canada announces that the name of the Canadian Armed Forces Air Command will revert to “Royal Canadian Air Force,” the name it had held as an independent armed service until 1968. [1]

  • 20 August — As the “Battle of Tripoli” begins, Libyan rebels capture Tripoli International Airport and launch an assault on Mitiga International Airport east of Tripoli. [1]

  • 22 August — An American unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Pakistan conducted by the CIA kills Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar al-Sunna and former chief-of-staff to the deceased al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. [1]

  • 22 August — The Government of Niger begins patrols by Niger Air Force aircraft over its border with Libya to avoid infiltration of Niger's territory by armed groups from Libya and the crossing of the border by mercenaries from the Sahel heading to Sabha, Libya, and to end the smuggling of military forces and resources out of Libya. [1]

  • 25 August — At Tripoli International Airport during the Battle of Tripoli, the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A300B4-620 (5A-IAY) and the Libyan Arab Airlines Airbus A300B4-622 (5A-DLZ) are burned out and destroyed during fighting between government and rebel forces, and the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A320 (5A-ONK) suffers substantial damage when an artillery shell hits its fuselage, setting it afire as well. Some reports mention an additional two aircraft destroyed, including an Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330. [1]

September 2011


  • ? September — The USAF out sources all of its General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicle operations at Seychelles International Airport on Mahé in the Seychelles, to the Jacksonville, Florida-based firm Merlin RAMCo. [1]

  • 14 September — The Libyan rebel National Transitional Council reports that it has captured the Libyan government military airbase at Brak. [1]

  • 16 September — Libyan rebel forces take control of the airport at Sirte. [1]

  • 16 September — The North American P-51D “Mustang” ‘The Galloping Ghost’, flown by James K. “Jimmy” Leeward, crashes into box seats in front of the grandstand at the Reno Air Races at Reno Stead Airport north of Reno, Nevada. Leeward and 10 others are killed and 69 people are injured. It is the third-deadliest airshow accident in U.S. history and the deadliest aviation accident of any kind in the United States in two years. [1]

  • 26 September — Boeing delivers its first Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” to a customer, All Nippon Airways, at Paine Field in Washington. [1]

  • 27-28 September — All Nippon Airways flies the first delivery flight of a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner”, from Paine Field, Washington, to Tokyo International Airport. [1]

  • 30 September — An American unmanned aerial vehicle strike in Yemen kills Anwar al-Aulaqi, an al-Qaeda recruiter and motivator, and Samir Khan, the editor of the English-language online magazine Inspire published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. [1]

October 2011


  • 10 October — Flying a modified Yakovlev Yak-3U powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engine, William Whiteside sets an official international speed record for piston-engine aircraft in the under-3,000 kg (6,615-pound) category, reaching 655 km/hr (407 mph) over a 3-km (1.863-mile) course at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the United States, greatly exceeding the previous record of 491 km/hr (305 mph) set in 2002 by Jim Wright. [1]

  • 11 October — Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, officially reopens. It had been closed since 19 March, when international forces had began to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. [1]

  • 11 October — In the same modified Yak-3U, William Whiteside sets an unofficial speed record for piston-engine aircraft in the under-3,000 kg (6,615-pound) category of 670 km/hr (416 mph) over the same 3-km (1.863-mile) course at the Bonneville Salt Flats. [1]

  • 16 October — Kenyan Air Force jets strike two villages in Somalia in support of a Kenyan invasion of Somalia to attack militant groups there. [1]

  • 21 October — An electric-powered multicopter achieves sustained flight without ground assistance for the first time, when the battery-powered, 16-rotor e-volo VC1 helicopter achieves an altitude of 3 meters (10 feet) for 90 seconds at Karlsruhe, Germany. The VC1 reportedly can remain airborne for 20 minutes on a single charge. The flight will win e-volo the Lindbergh Prize for advances in environmentally friendly “green” aviation. [1]

  • 23 October — After the death of Muammar Gaddafi three days earlier, the Libyan civil war ends. [1]

  • 26 October — All Nippon Airways flies the first commercial flight of a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner”, from Tokyo to Hong Kong. [1]

  • 26 October — In response to an ongoing industrial dispute with three labor unions, all Qantas aircraft are grounded by Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce. [1]

  • 31 October — The NATO announces the end of “Operation Unified Protector”, its military operations in Libya. Since taking command of the international intervention in the Libyan civil war on 31 March, its aircraft have carried out 9,600 strike sorties and destroyed more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles, and guns, as well as the Libyan air defense and command-and-control network. [1]

November 2011


  • ? November — USAF inspectors ground the Air Force's General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicles based at Seychelles International Airport on Mahé in the Seychelles after discovering that the General Atomics MQ-9 “Reapers”, operated by the private firm Merlin RAMCo, had not received required mechanical upgrades. The General Atomics MQ-9 “Reapers” remain grounded until December. [1]

  • 1 November — LOT Polish Airlines Flight 016, a Boeing 767-300ER, makes a successful belly landing at Warsaw Chopin Airport in Warsaw, Poland, after its landing gear fails to extend. None of the 231 people on board are injured. [1]

  • 13 November — The Dubai-based airline Emirates orders 50 Boeing 777 airliners worth about US$18,000,000,000 - the largest order in terms of commercial value in Boeing's history - with an option to purchase 20 more 777s for another $8,000,000,000. [1]

  • 26 November — American aircraft participating in a NATO-Afghan operation against insurgents in Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan mistakenly attack a Pakistani border post, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. [1]

December 2011


  • 1 December — A CIA Lockheed Martin RQ-170 “Sentinel” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on a reconnaissance mission malfunctions, veers out of control, and flies deep into Iran, where it runs out of fuel and crashes. [1]

  • 4 December — Iran announces its capture of the CIA Lockheed Martin RQ-170 “Sentinel” UAV, claiming to have shot it down. The United States acknowledges the loss of the UAV for the first time, but denies that it was shot down. [1]

  • 10 December — A gun battle between Libya's new Libyan National Army and a powerful militia force takes place at Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli. [1]

  • 13 December — The engine of an unarmed, contractor-operated USAF General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” unmanned aerial vehicle fails two minutes after takeoff from Seychelles International Airport on Mahé in the Seychelles. The In General Atomics MQ-9 “Reaper” descends too quickly while its operator attempts an emergency landing at the airport, touches down too far along the runway, bounces over a perimeter road and breakwater, and crashes and sinks in the Indian Ocean about 200 feet (61 meters) offshore. [1]

2011 Aircraft First Flights


  • 11 January — Chengdu J-20 in China. [1]

  • 4 February — Northrop Grumman X-47B Air Vehicle 1 (AV-1). [1]

  • 20 March — Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental in Everett, Washington. [1]

  • 21 October — e-volo VC1. [1]

2011 Aircraft Entering Service


  • 26 October — Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” with All Nippon Airways. [1]

Works Cited


  1. Timeline and History: Wikipedia. 2011 in Aviation

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